MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Former Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) was pleased with his results in the Tuesday-night New Hampshire primary.
Bush was set to finish third or fourth in in the primary, behind winner Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R).
The governor delivered a defiant speech before Granite State supporters, saying said his results were good enough to catapult him to next primary state, South Carolina.
“This campaign is not dead,” Bush said during an appearance at his campaign party at Manchester Community College.
For Bush, long an expected front-runner in the state, the nature of the celebration was a chance to defy political pundits and analysts. Many of them predicted that Iowa-caucus results showed the race essentially winnowing to a three-way race between Trump and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
“They said it was a three-person race between two freshmen senators and a reality-TV star,” Bush said. “And while the reality-TV star is still doing well, it looks like you guys reset the race.”
Indeed, as results flashed across the screen at the community college, Bush’s campaign appeared openly gleeful at Rubio’s poor finish.
“The coronation of Marco Rubio appears to be in a stall,” David Kochel, the Bush campaign’s chief strategist, told Business Insider.
“Their ‘3-2-1’ strategy doesn’t work quite as sure as it did when they were talking about it a week ago,” he added, referring to the Rubio campaign’s ambition to finish third in Iowa, second in New Hampshire, and then first in South Carolina.
Bush’s campaign publicly remains confident about its future prospects.
Before the results were even counted in New Hampshire, advisers were already looking toward to South Carolina. The Bush campaign believes it has an advantage there because of Sen. Lindsay Graham’s (R-South Carolina) endorsement and the governor’s popularity among military servicemembers and veterans, who make up around one-quarter of the state’s population.
“You have given me the chance to go on to South Carolina,” Bush said. “We are going to do really well there.”
As he has for months, Bush touted his electability. He took a slight jab at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who lost to Democratic presidential rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) in New Hampshire.
“We need someone who can beat Hillary Clinton. Not just Hillary Clinton — apparently maybe Bernie Sanders, as well,” Bush said to laughs.
But the loudest boos came after Bush said Trump’s name.
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